Ninety percent of some 4,000 Canadian government scientists who responded to a recent survey said they are not permitted to freely discuss their work, while nearly 25 percent said they were asked to alter reports for "non-scientific reasons."

The poll was commissioned by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, a union representing around 55,000 civil service professionals.

The union hired polling firm Environics to survey 15,398 scientific personnel following multiple complaints by government scientists over restrictions imposed on them in 2006 by the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Responding to those complaints, Federal Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault in April launched a formal probe to determine whether the government's policies have diminished the public's access to scientific information.

Nearly half the respondents told Environics they knew of instances where their department or agency suppressed information.

Just over 70 percent of them said political interference was undermining efforts to introduce science into policy discussions. EFE